GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual social gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let’s put the “Boo!” back into “booze.”
All those who attend will receive a free (square) G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you, without asking the staff about our group.
For as long as ghosts have been seen by reluctant witnesses, the super-natural laws that govern these spirits have baffled those that seek to understand this kind of stuff. In the Venice area of Los Angeles sits a historic (haunted) bar with an unlikely ghost that challenges the way we think about haunted locations.
On one hand, the Townhouse and its counterpart downstairs bar, the Del Monte Speakeasy, perfectly fit the description is a cliche haunted bar…
Like last month’s haunted “Spirits with Spirits” location, The Townhouse is one of the oldest bars in Los Angeles, and was an actual speakeasy during Prohibition.
Cesar Menotti first opened the doors to this establishment in 1915 under the name “Menotti’s Bar” (as seen in the picture above taken during Prohibition when “Bar” was changed to “Buffet”). Cesar was a local business man, who owned a liquor store. After a bid to pipe-in “refrigerated liquid” from his store to the homes along the beach failed, he decided it was time to take his alcohol-selling enterprise to the next level and open his own bar.
It should be noted that although Venice has always had a reputation as being “The Coney Island of the Pacific” with tourists and visiting families, locals have always known that this sunny, eccentric area has a darker, seedier side.
More importantly, the Venetians, themselves, seem to love their hooch (while the city loves the revenue it provides). When Santa Monica and other nearby communities went “dry” (before Prohibition), Venice still sold booze. When an influenza epidemic hit Southern California, and social gathering were forbidden, Venice still sold booze.
Then, during Prohibition, when it was illegal, Venice still sold booze. They just went underground, figuratively and literally. According to popular legends, there was a secret underground utility corridor (some versions claim a network of tunnels and caves) that went from underneath the Abbott Kinney Pier to underneath the Townhouse to take booze directly from the boat to the basement.
Then, when Venice was incorporated into the city of Los Angeles, the civic leaders looked the other way (while collecting the revenue), and let this “Disneyland for Drunks” run amok. The crime-rate escalated, and fires wiped out the amusement areas.
So, given the craziness of this location and all the odd-ball characters that have past through the doors of the Townhouse (from Charlie Chaplin to Jim Morrison), this bar should be bursting at the seams with ghosts…
And yet, there is only one ghost that haunts this historic building,… and his name is Frank. Frank Bennett was a former owner who passed away in September of 2003, and since then, staff have claimed to see him sitting in his favorite booth. However, if you want an older ghost just step outside, where the spirit of Abbott Kinney has been seen walking along the sidewalk for decades (with his top hat, cape, and cane).
So, come out to the Townhouse this 13th, and ponder these super-natural puzzles with one of Los Angeles’ newest ghosts at one of our oldest bars… if you dare!